This is what surprise looks like.
And joy looks like this.
And this is love.
You know how fun it is to come across that perfect gift? When Rebeka saw the totally impractical but impressive four foot stuffed Curious George by the tree Christmas morning, we got the kind of reaction all gift-givers hope for. We got it again for the t-shirt, the book . . . it didn’t matter. All gifts were things of wonder and she was full of gratitude and “fank you’s” and big smiles.
Surprise. Joy. Love. Add shoes.
That’s right, we bought Rebeka her first pair of shoes! We had another fairly traumatic cast removal at home Tuesday night (New Year’s Day) but it went much better than last time. This time she knew what to expect, and her feet had two more weeks to heal. Her foot was still really fragile, though. She wouldn’t even set her heel on the ground and putting on a sock was a painful ordeal. Wednesday morning at Dell our new friend Bud made a cast and then took it off to use as a mold for a new brace. We’re making lots of friends at Dell, from cast techs to doctors and nurses and orthotics guys like Bud-who looks a little like Santa.
Touching her foot, putting on the cast and cutting it off, was painful and scary and Rebeka’s tears soaked the paper on the examination table and she squeezed my hands hard, hard, hard and pressed her head into my chest while Clay wiped her face and we all gritted our teeth and bore down. But, we’re beginning to realize this is part pain, but also part fear and anxiety. I think she’s also realizing this, and it’s getting a little easier on both sides. We got to pick the pattern we wanted for her brace, a pretty light purple with butterflies. And we were told, almost as an after thought, “Oh yeah, you’ll need a shoe.” I gasped. You mean we get to go shoe shopping?? We left the clinic with no cast on Rebeka’s left leg, the first time that’s happened since September. Not only that, we had a walker in my trunk, but we had to wait until we got the brace before we’d be able to try it out.
After all those tears, you’d think it would be time to come home and take a nap. Maybe watch a movie. But first on Rebeka’s list of things to do was to take a spin in the go-kart Benji got for Christmas.
It’s a nifty little thing with gas and brake on the small steering wheel so she can drive it all by herself. That go-kart means freedom to Rebeka now, just as surely as those crocs and walker mean mobility in the future. She was my pace car when I went for a three mile run, driving it up and down our street while I ran beside her. She made a few accommodations for the sore heel, putting both legs on the left side of the wheel so she could keep her foot propped up, and she was off, with a promise that she wouldn’t “drift” or spin out this time. Surely this girl, who hurls herself into a 180 and then shrieks with laughter, wouldn’t take long to be brave enough to set that heel on the ground and get going.
Thursday (yesterday) she was fitted with her new purple butterfly brace, made just for her. As we waited in the waiting room, she noticed that the left toe was dropping. She was very concerned, and all of a sudden this girl who treated her foot like a china doll was pulling at her toe, and pushing the bottom of her foot down to make that toe be straight. Aha. So it didn’t hurt all that bad, and she still has that stubborn, strong drive to walk. The drive that hurtled her to America in the first place. I love her spirit.
Fitting for the brace hurt, a little. A few tears, and then this look came over her face of, “Wait a second, that didn’t really hurt too much.” We stocked up on a large supply of knee socks and got a new pair of shoes (the first pair didn’t fit). Her new ones are adorned with some very cool “jibbets.” Rebeka likes the iridescent mermaid best, my personal favorie is the 3D flower.
She is supposed to wear her brace all the time at first, except when bathing, to make sure that her foot maintains its good position. Surprise, joy, love. All those things swelled up in me when I saw Rebeka do this:
And then there will be shoes. Maybe even a pair of cowboy boots before she goes home. It’s shaping up to be a very happy new year.